If you have been living under a rock today, you missed Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz appearing in Jupiter, Florida on a back field of the St. Louis Cardinals. No, the Cards haven’t signed the phenom, they worked him out for a private try-out of sorts. Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch broke the news.
Diaz has had a pretty rocky 9 months. In July he was punished by Major League Baseball for providing a fake birthdate. MLB made him ineligible to sign until, well today. Baseball America has a good background story on Diaz.
MLBTradeRumors has done a good job of breaking down all of the Diaz rumors over the past few months and the Cardinals are not the only team interested in him. Last week, he attended a showcase of sorts at the Padres spring facility and “over a dozen” teams were on hand to watch the 23-year-old. While there are several teams interested, I have only found one team to have been given a private workout, the Cardinals. But what does that really mean?
We have no idea if other teams have secretly worked out Diaz (as was supposed to be the case with the Cards). Also, the timing of this workout is somewhat intriguing as he is expected to sign in the next couple of days. Does the late workout help the Cards? Or are they trying to “woo” him one last time?
As you can see, many questions and obstacles remain. A giant obstacle could be lurking in the Bronx. It makes too much sense for the Yankees to go after him. They have backed off of Stephen Drew, even though he is a great fit and we all know they have enough money for him. It may be tough for the Cards to compete against the Yankees or the Dodgers or the White Sox or the Cubs.
So how would Diaz fit with the Cardinals if they do snag him? I would see him starting the season either at Double-A Springfield or Triple-A Memphis. Yasiel Puig, the last big-time Cuban to sign, spent about 60 games in the minors at the A and AA levels. Why would the Cardinals want to rush him? Well there may be $20-$30 million reasons to rush him, but I don’t think that would make much of a difference.
Where would Diaz fit in the Cardinals top prospect rankings? My guess would be #2 behind Oscar Taveras.
While I would put the Cards chances at less than 50%, the thought of adding a young shortstop to the mix is very enticing. This move shows the Cardinals are now big players on the international scene, when added to their domestic scouting team, could be a very dangerous weapon.